Apple and Google are partnering to fight COVID-19 pandemic

To combat the coronavirus pandemic, two leading providers of smartphone operating systems, Apple and Google is now going to partnering to enable the use of Bluetooth technology to help governments and health agencies reduce the spread of the virus.

The new joint effort will track the spread of COVID-19 by allowing users to share data through Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) transmissions and approved apps from health organizations with user privacy and security central to the design.

In view of the high level of urgency, it is planned to implement this solution in two steps.

First, both companies plan to publish APIs in May that enable interoperability between Android and iOS devices with the help of apps from the health authorities. The authorities could make their certified apps available via the respective app stores.

Second, in the coming months, Apple and Google want to integrate support for contact tracing directly into the operating systems. A comprehensive Bluetooth-based platform for contact measurements is planned by integrating the relevant functionality into the underlying platforms. This is more robust than the programming interface initially planned for May and enables the voluntary participation of far more individuals. This approach also supports collaboration in a broader ecosystem of apps and health authorities.

This is how Google and Apple show contact tracing works:

how Google and Apple show contact tracing works
how Google and Apple show contact tracing works

Both companies published four PDF documents on the concept for the API, for encryption, for the framework, and for the Bluetooth specification

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